RALEIGH, N.C. - Paul Ryan compared the U.S. economy to Europe's today, saying if the country stays on the path the president has laid out, "we will turn out just like Europe if we stick with European policies."
It's a similar message to one he has told donors at fundraisers since he became a vice presidential candidate 12 days ago, but it's the first time he said it publicly.
"What's unique about this historic moment we are facing is we see it coming," Ryan said at a rally at a sheet metal fabrication warehouse. "Let me ask it to you this way. I remember 2008, the economic crisis, that crash. Now that we look back we can see why it all happened. You know housing markets and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and all the stuff that happened. The point is, when that crisis hit us, it caught us all by surprise. Trillions of dollars of wealth from families, from retirements were vanished. Millions of people [were put] out of work, which we're still suffering from.
"Let me ask you it this way: What if your president, or your congressmen or your senator, what if they saw it coming? What if they knew that that crash was coming, what if they knew why it was going to happen, what if they knew approximately when it was going to happen, and what if they knew how to prevent it from happening and they had time to do that, but they just decided not to because it wasn't good politics? What would you think of them? Friends, that's exactly where we are today."
Obama won North Carolina narrowly in 2008, but the Republicans are pushing hard to flip it, campaigning here extensively. The event in North Carolina marks the second day Ryan has spent as a candidate in the state. He has a fundraiser in the Fayetteville, N.C., area tonight and another event on Thursday, and the joint Romney/Ryan ticket campaigned in the state just a day after the Wisconsin congressman was revealed as Romney's running mate. This is also the state where the Democrats will hold their national convention next month.
"North Carolina, when we think of it, is a state with so many resources, so much talent, a great university system, great football, great basketball," Ryan, standing in the warehouse, said to cheers. "It is known for its research, known for its dynamic."
He also promised to bring 355,000 jobs to the state if the GOP ticket wins and to get the economy "growing at 4 percent," adding then they could create 12 million jobs in the country.
It's something the Obama campaign disagreed with, immediately responding to the event.
"Under the president's leadership, businesses have added 4.5 million jobs over the last 29 months and American manufacturers are adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s," Obama spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement. "It's no wonder then that in North Carolina, Congressman Ryan overlooked that independent economists have said Mitt Romney's economic plans wouldn't create jobs and could actually push us back into recession. And to make matters worse, they'd pay for their $5 trillion in tax cuts skewed towards millionaires and billionaires by raising taxes on the middle class, turning Medicare into a voucher program and slashing critical investments in education. That's certainly a 'bold' agenda, but not one that middle class families can afford."